5 Critical Electrical Safety Features In Your Home
Many people don’t realize just how much you’re required to know as a homeowner until they’ve already signed a mortgage and started moving in. If you’ve never owned a home before, it can quickly feel like a full-time job or a test that you can never quite study enough for. Out of all the things that are important to know as a homeowner, however, your house’s electrical system should always be at the very top of the list.
Not only does knowing not just what your electrical system does but how it works help to save you money on utility bills and decrease your carbon footprint, but it can also bring with it the biggest benefit of all: ensuring the safety of you and your family.
What Happens if You Don’t Know How Your Electrical System Works?
Failing to understand the various features and components that make up your home’s electrical system leaves you vulnerable in a number of different ways. This goes well beyond the simple fact that if something breaks, nobody will be around to fix it but you. It also brings with it a number of other issues, including but not limited to things like:
- You’re decreasing your personal and home safety. Small problems with your home’s electrical system can quickly create dangerous situations before you know it.
- You’re increasing the cost of your monthly utility bills by failing to take advantage of certain tips and best practices.
- You literally don’t have the knowledge required to make smart energy consumption and safety decisions moving forward.
These are all pretty significant problems, but luckily they all have the same straightforward solution: education.
Why You Should Learn Your Home’s Electrical System Safety Features
Along the same lines, taking the time to learn more about your home’s electrical system brings with it a host of unique benefits that you can’t afford to ignore:
- You increase your home safety. If a small problem with your electrical system occurs, you know exactly what to fix (and most importantly, how to fix it) to avoid letting it snowball into a much more dangerous situation.
- You decrease your monthly utility bills. Knowing your electrical system allows you to make sure it’s running efficiently, which avoids waste and sends those monthly bills as low as possible.
- You can make smarter energy consumption choices. You can more easily identify which habits you and your family have that are costing you money, allowing you to put a stop to them sooner rather than later.
The Major Features of Your Home’s Electrical System
Now that you’ve come to the conclusion that you should learn more about your home’s electrical system, it’s key to start with the five mission-critical features that are all working to help keep your family safe. Electricity is inherently dangerous – to the point where the United States Fire Administration estimates that 6.3% of all home fires are caused by an electrical malfunction each year.
Below is a list of the features that are all working together to help make sure that you and your loved ones don’t become a part of that statistic.
- The Meter. If your home’s electrical system is a living, breathing thing, think of the meter a bit like it’s brain. This box, typically located either on the exterior of your home or in an easily accessible place indoors, is the lifeblood of your system. It shows you how much energy you’re consuming in real-time, allowing you to make smarter decisions moving forward. Knowing how your meter works lets you double-check your utility bills for authenticity and can even clue you in on problems that you can’t see that are leading to increased energy consumption.
- The Main Breaker Panel. If the meter is your electrical system’s brain, consider the main breaker panel as the heart. Typically located in a basement or closet, this breaker panel houses the distribution board that divides the electrical power your home receives in a variety of different directions, allowing you to turn on every lamp or TV or refrigerator in your home. If you “blow a fuse” and suddenly lose electricity at some point in your home, finding the breaker panel will be a top priority.
- The Circuits. When power is piped into your home by your energy provider, it is funneled through to the rest of your system via these circuits. You’ll likely have different circuits for every part of your home – one going upstairs, one going down to the basement, one going out to the garage, etc.
- GFCIs. Also called “ground fault circuit interrupters,” these are devices that automatically shut off electrical power to a circuit if it detects that electrical current is flowing where it shouldn’t be. GFCIs are what help protect you from electric shock and can even prevent fires.
- AFCIs. Also called Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters, AFCIs help detect faults in your electrical system and are mainly intended to help prevent electrical fires at all times.
These are just a few of the major electrical safety features that keep your home and your family safe each day – even when you don’t realize it. Remember that knowing as much as possible about your electrical system doesn’t just save you money on your monthly utility bills or make sure that electricity is flowing the next time you try to turn a light on. It also brings with it the most important benefit of all: the peace-of-mind that only comes with knowing you and your loved ones are always taken care of.
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